Losing the bad image

December 09, 1998

Losing the bad image

Smithsburg breaks 47-game losing streak vs. Clear Spring

Smithsburg winsBy RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

CLEAR SPRING - All things must pass.

Even the Smithsburg boys basketball team's 47-game losing streak.

The Leopards' last victory came on Feb. 27, 1996. Two days later, they lost to Poolesville in the 1A South semifinals and didn't win again until Tuesday night when they beat Clear Spring with surprising ease, 60-41.

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Apollo Bey, who led Smithsburg with 22 points, was overcome with a burst of confidence seconds after the final buzzer.

"I feel like we can win every game,'' he said. "It feels great. This is our first win in two years.''


Coach Dave Morris just smiled when told of Bey's statement. He was happy, but not ready to pronounce the Leopards, 1-1 on the season, world beaters or even possible state champions. But he was quick to point out that the team is young - there are only two seniors - and the program could be on the upswing.

"It's just a relief to get the streak out of the way,'' Morris said.

But the streak looked as if it would live at least another day during the first quarter. Smithsburg struggled in every way, missing layups, getting outrebounded and showing little spunk.

"We started sluggish,'' Bey said.

But Clear Spring was unable to take advantage, and the Blazers' quick 4-0 lead turned into a 6-6 tie at the end of the first quarter.

Justin Saloom scored on a layup and then off an offensive rebound sandwiched around two free throws by Nate Showman to put Clear Spring ahead, 10-8. It looked like the Blazers were finally ready to take off and leave the Leopards behind.

But it was quite the opposite.

"My cousin hit a 3, and I followed up,'' Apollo Bey said, pointing out the turning point.

Indeed, Matheno Bey's 3-pointer changed the game for good. It gave Smithsburg an 11-8 edge. Apollo Bey knocked down a long jumper to put Smithsburg up, 13-8.

Those were the first two baskets of what turned out to be a 19-3 run over the final 6:15 of the second quarter and sent the Leopards into the locker room with a hefty 27-13 lead.

They could sense the victory coming and allowed themselves a small celebration. Matt Colvin was swinging a towel and smacked it against the wall as he sprinted for the locker, and a couple of Smithsburg fans jumped out of the stands and traded high-fives with some of the players.

Clear Spring came out firing in the second half as Jamie Mowen drove the lane for two. But Smithsburg answered immediately. Apollo Bey was fouled on an 8-footer and converted the three-point play to double up Clear Spring, 30-15.

The post-game celebration was relatively subdued considering the circumstances but intensified in the presence of a television camera.

"Everyone picked it up tonight,'' said Nate Showman as both Beys shoved their way into the picture, flashing smiles.

Matheno Bey finished with 11.

Matthew Michael led Clear Spring (1-1) with 13.

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